Oak Bay High project trespassing prompts warning

Construction zone remains off-limits to the public during work period

Recent accounts of trespassing have sparked a reminder that the construction zone around Oak Bay High is off limits to the public during the project.

Last week, workers at the site found a construction fence adjacent to the school was knocked over, a clear violation of no-trespassing signs prolific in the area.

“The site is quite secure – and right now there is nothing in there that could put (trespassers) in harm’s way,” said John Scheeren, senior superintendent and project manager with Farmer Construction Ltd.

“The entire site is cordoned off and safety is our No. 1 priority. There are visibility barricades and everything is within codes.”

Vandals also slashed the “No entrance” signs in the tree-retention zone along Cranmore Road, but new signs have since been put up inside the fenced-off zone.

While not everyone in the community is “enamored” with the project, Oak Bay High principal Dave Thomson said, he’s certain the mischief would not come from the school’s students.

“I would bet money on the fact that it’s not our kids (trespassing),” he said. “Most of them are so excited about being in a new facility and this is something we all want to see happen.”

Scheeren, for whom the high school project is the latest in his 37-year construction career, said the company is trying to do everything it can do to alleviate any disruptions to the neighbourhood.

“We have it as safe as we can possibly make it,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to miss the ‘No enter’ and ‘No trespassing’ message.”

Though Scheeren doesn’t expect any further disturbances when Oak Bay High students arrive back for school next week, he reiterated Farmer will continue monitor safety around the site.

“We’ve had extensive contracts that our workers have had to sign, right down to the details that there is to be no contact with any students, no staring at the girls – or boys – and no smoking.”

Farmer has also developed a fire safety plan to ensure the quickest emergency access route is granted to fire trucks through the construction zone, if need be.

“We make sure our sites are well contained and … as we see it warranted, we will increase security. I know we’ve taken all precautions.”

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